Live video from our London Bridge webcam in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, showing the bridge, the Bridgewater Channel and portions of the English Village
How the London Bridge made its home in Lake Havasu City
Since the 13th century, several bridges named London Bridge have spanned the River Thames in London. The London Bridge crossing Lake Havasu City’s Bridgewater Channel today was opened in London in 1831 after construction began in 1824.
By the late 19th century, thousands of pedestrians and vehicles were crossing the bridge every hour, causing it to sink about an inch every eight years. By 1924, the bridge had sunk to the point where it needed to be removed and replaced.
As Lake Havasu City’s founder, chainsaw magnate Robert P. McCulloch saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when the London Bridge went up for auction in 1968. He believed–correctly, as history show us–that reconstructing this massive icon in his new city would attract tourists and prospective buyers of residential lots.
McCulloch purchased the London Bridge for $2.46 million. The purchase included ornate lampposts said to have been made from Napoleon’s cannons captured at Waterloo (seen in the live video above).
After it was dismantled, each of its 10,276 granite blocks were numbered and shipped to Lake Havasu City through the Panama Canal to the Port of Long Beach in California. From there, it was delivered by truck to Lake Havasu City.
The shipping, assembly and dredging of the channel under the bridge took over three years and cost $7 million. In October 1971, an extravagant dedication ceremony welcomed the London Bridge to its new home in Lake Havasu City.
Arizona’s London Bridge: A media icon and much-visited tourist attraction
Today the historic bridge is the second-biggest tourist draw in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. Its many fans include photographers, history buffs, boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders, and music lovers at live concerts under its acoustical arches.
In 2017, a panel of experts partnering with USA Today’s 10Best chose the London Bridge as one of 20 initial nominees for Best Arizona Attraction. 10Best readers voted the London Bridge as a top 5 favorite!